As a first time mom and complete noob when it comes to babies (give me an 18 month old any day), I am thankful each day E is still alive.
It was quite scary in the beginning and every mistake we (hubs and I) made along the way just made life even more terrifying. But I have to say, one’s confidence grows with each day. I’m still not the most confident mom, but I am less worried about E and what is to come.
That being said, being trained as an early childhood educator and working as one did help in initial mommyhood. I was able to let E cry-it-out when needed, I wasn’t as anxious over small hiccups along the way, and I like to think I am a pretty chill mom (most of the time).
When the mommy guilt sets in and I feel as though I am not doing enough to help E develop the best she can, I am thankful I have friends who tell me it’s okay and that my child will not be less of a person just because mommy has some laundry to do. She might be less of an Einstein, but I can live with that.
Here are some reflections and lessons learned:
- Surround yourself with people who are supportive and respectful of your parenting beliefs and practices. There are room for differences of opinion but constantly being in a community where people put down other parents because they don’t feed their children 100% organic foods (or similar negotiable points) just contributes to parental stress. I am thankful that amongst my community here, I have friends who practice vastly different parenting styles and we are still able to be friends and support each other.
- Cherry-picking is okay. I have read a good number of parenting books, articles etc. but I realize I don’t follow any one technique. I use what works for me and combine techniques when needed.
- Each child develops at their own pace. E’s development is faster and slower in each area and I really need to chill and take it in my stride. Yes, I have lofty expectations for her, but I can only do my best to support her. How fast she develops is really left to her genes (which are admittedly half mine).
- There are ups and downs and at times it feels like there are more downs than ups. But it’s life, more specifically life with a kid. You might not see the light at the end of the tunnel…yet! At this stage, E is still very “gabra” (Singlish for confused/disorganized). I wonder at times how I developed from babyhood to adulthood. It is truly a miracle.
- You will make mistakes. Thankfully, most of them will not be major ones. Just learn from them and move on.
- There are many ways to get to the same place. Choose what is best for you and your family.
- Prayer sustains you. I’ve prayed a lot more since E was born. There have been dark times when worry and fear sets in, but praying and remembering that God is in control has helped me trudge on.
- Treasure the moments you have with your child. E has grown and developed so much and when I look back, sometimes I do miss the itty bitty newborn that first popped out of me.
On a side note, I’ve become quite the “crunchy” mama. I don’t think I set out to become like this, but yes, I love breastfeeding and feed somewhat on demand everywhere/anywhere; we co-sleep with E and she frequently ends up right next to me in bed; I love baby wearing for its convenience; I use essential oils; and we are practicing baby-led weaning (or some form of it). I just haven’t gone down the whole organic food only path and am highly unlikely to because the hubs won’t allow it and neither will our food budget. 🙂